Part 2: Mathematical Reasoning in OC Test | New OC Test Prep Guide

Mathematical Reasoning in the OC test assesses students' critical thinking abilities in problem-solving with questions drawn from a range of mathematical content areas. Read this guide to learn how to ace the Mathematical Reasoning section of the OC Test.

child conducting mathematical reasoning mental calculation strategies

Mathematical Reasoning in OC test

What is Mathematical Reasoning?

The Thinking Skills component of the OC Placement Test is designed to assess students’ critical thinking abilities. The OC test requires students to apply mathematical understanding and knowledge to problems, with questions drawn from a range of mathematical content areas.


The format of the Mathematical Reasoning section in the OC test

On the day of the OC test, students are given 35 multiple-choice Mathematical Reasoning questions to solve in 40 minutes.

Test section Questions Time
Mathematical Reasoning 35 40 minutes

The Mathematical Reasoning test is conducted second after the Reading test. No extra paper is given for working out, but students are encouraged to write on the question paper.


Mathematical Reasoning Proficiencies in Year 3  to 6

Australian Curriculum describes Mathematical Reasoning as follows:

  • Year 3 includes using generalising from number properties and results of calculations, comparing angles and creating and interpreting variations in the results of data collections and data displays.
  • Year 4 includes using generalising from number properties and results of calculations, deriving strategies for unfamiliar multiplication and division tasks, comparing angles, communicating information using graphical displays and evaluating the appropriateness of different displays.
  • Year 5 includes investigating strategies to perform calculations efficiently, continuing patterns involving fractions and decimals, interpreting results of chance experiments, posing appropriate questions for data investigations and interpreting data sets.
  • Year 6 includes explaining mental strategies for performing calculations, describing results for continuing number sequences, explaining the transformation of one shape into another and explaining why the actual results of chance experiments may differ from expected results.



Question Types in the Mathematical Reasoning test

Question types in the Mathematical Reasoning test include but not limited to:

  1. Number Patterns and Sequences
  2. Measurement Problems
  3. Numerical Puzzles
  4. Worded Puzzles
  5. Combinations


Below are Mathematical Reasoning questions from Matrix Year 4 OC Test Preparation Course (also known as Critical Thinking Skills)

Numerical Puzzles

Mathematical Reasoning OC Test - Puzzles Quesiton



Combination question type

Mathematical Reasoning OC Test - Combination Question



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How to ace the Mathematical Reasoning test

Step 1: Build a strong foundation in English and Mathematics.

Without the essential knowledge and skills in Year 3 and 4 English your child will struggle with the Worded Puzzles question type.

Without the essential knowledge and skills in Year 3 & 4 Mathematics, your child will struggle with the Number Patterns and Sequence question type and Numerical Puzzle question type.

You can use school reports and NAPLAN test results to identify the areas of your child’s weakness and address them through a structured English and Maths programs like the one offered by Matrix.

Browse Year 3 OC Preparation Course or Year 4 OC Preparation Course.


Step 2: Master the techniques for the 5 question types in Mathematical Reasoning test

To answer 35 questions in 40 minutes, students have just over 1.1 minute for each question. To complete the test in the given time, students must be able to determine the question type and apply the right technique to efficiently solve the question.


Step 3: Implement an effective learning process

We recommend the following proven process used by Matrix students

  1. Theory: Understand the skill category and how it is applied.
  2. Consolidate: Cement your understanding through a guided practice.
  3. Practice: Learn where the skill is applied, see problems that students will encounter and the methods to fast-track their working.
  4. Reflection: Address your knowledge and skill gaps identified.

A process allows repetition and discovery of your strengths and weaknesses.


Step 4: Practice under exam conditions

Make sure your child has regular exam practice under timed-conditions. This will help your child find the right balance between speed and accuracy for the Mathematical Reasoning Test.


Mathematical Reasoning Practice Tests

Sample test papers

Below are paper-based sample Thinking Skills tests from the NESA website:


2021 OC test papers

Below are Thinking Skills tests from the 2021 Opportunity Class Placement Test from the NESA website:


Want to ace the OC test?

Enrol into the Matrix Online OC Preparation Course and develop your child’s critical thinking ability. The structured course teaches all essential techniques and comprehensive coverage of all question types for the OC test.


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